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Citizenship, Energy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Civics


90 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Nuclear Fission: Should We Continue to Use This Energy Technology?

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Apr 24, 2024
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In this lesson, students research nuclear energy and advocate for its expansion or contraction in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Students form policy proposals and compromise on the best path forward.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students discuss rising global temperatures.

Step 2 - Investigate: In groups, students research nuclear fission technology and form a policy proposal advocating for or against more nuclear energy.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students meet with another group to collaboratively design a future energy policy.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students explore a topic that is relevant but may not be part of their daily routine.
  • Students collaborate in research and discussion.
  • Students have the opportunity to choose what to research.
  • Students have the opportunity to discuss opposing arguments in a civil and productive way. Students must listen to one another to compromise on an energy policy.
  • This lesson provides a grading rubric.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students can design local, national, or global policy proposals.
  • Allow students to discuss freely and independently; offer guidance only when students appear off track or stuck.
  • Make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute to each group conversation.
  • It may be necessary to coach your students on how to be a respectful listener. This includes making eye contact and refraining from looking at screens.
  • This lesson can be split into multiple sessions or days. Parts of this lesson can also be assigned to be completed outside of regular class time.


  • The extent of student research and detail in policy planning can be adjusted to student skill level.
  • If your class has 24 students, you may have eight groups of students. Four of the groups would advocate for expanding nuclear energy capacity, and four of the groups would advocate for reducing nuclear energy capacity.
  • It may be necessary to ask some students to take opposing viewpoints in order to have a balanced class. For example, if 19 of your 24 students want to expand nuclear energy capacity, some of them will have to switch sides in order to create more balance. It may be helpful to emphasize the fact that people with strong debating skills can argue both sides of any argument.
Scientist Notes

This lesson enables students to understand the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, particularly the fission process. They would also analyze the best energy plans and develop policy proposals that would achieve the Paris goal and address climate change. All activities and materials have been fact-checked, and this lesson is recommended for teaching.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-8. Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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